Today the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's first officially ordained transgender pastor (a woman who presents herself as a man) preached at Luther Seminary's Transgender Day of Remembrance worship service. I watched the hour-long service below and here are the sad low-lights:
The service began not in the name of the “Father, Son and Holy Spirit,” but in the name of the “Creator, Christ and Holy Breath” (some shy away from masculine references for God because they claim they are sexist).
They recognized transgender people who have died and stated that dead transgender people “rest in the company of the saints of God”.
They stated "We celebrate transgender resilience…., We will not keep silence…Transgender people offer a witness of hope to us….God, help us to embrace your wondrous diversity".
During the sermon the preacher stated “It is my joy to speak to you today as a transgender Lutheran pastor." She then told her story of being raised as a girl and how horrible that was. She stated that Joseph’s “coat of many colors” in the Old Testament can also be translated “princess dress.” She quoted a poem called “Josephine” that says Joseph/Josephine perhaps wore a princess dress and that “when your brothers saw you in your flowing dress, they became enraged…the ground mourns the loss of its gender queer child…(Joseph/Josephine), I am claiming your story for every queer kid told they are unholy…Dear pastor…you’ve been lying about my (transgender) people too long.” The pastor stated that "Christ will not be bound by bathroom laws”.
After the sermon came the prayers when a woman prayed as a “cisgendered woman”, lifting up her prayers for her “transgender siblings”. She prayed for those “between and beyond the gender binary” and for future calls for future transgender clergy. She prayed “Mother and God, be with seminarians…who do not fit the either/or categorization that we so often put them in…give them strength when they proudly present their pronouns and courage to continue to come out.” She prayed for “transgender sex partners...tender-hearted butches, street queens and gender non-conforming seminarians”.
Then came Holy Communion when the transgender pastor led the congregation in the Lord’s Prayer “Our Mother in heaven, holy be your name…”
What a tragic day for my alma mater. I again noticed how small the attendance is at Luther Seminary Chapel, way down from when I graduated there in 1979. This is evidence of the shrinking power of liberal religion. When God the Father is not mentioned once in a worship service, but God the "Mother" is mentioned twice, something is very wrong.
Let us have mercy on people who suffer from gender confusion. May we help them be the biological gender God created them to be. Sadly, instead, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is joining our culture's sexual confusion and saying "If you think you are a man, you are a man, even if you are biologically a woman." In a recent interview, ELCA head Bishop Elizabeth Eaton took a stand for transgender rights (and also said if there is a Hell, Hell is empty).
As mainline, liberal denominations get further and further from Scripture, they will continue to shrink, and they should. If you are a member of the ELCA, the United Church of Christ, the Episcopal Church in America, or the Presbyterian Church USA, is it time to take your money, time and talents and join a more Biblical denomination. I guess I never thought I would see the ELCA sink quite so low in my lifetime.
Sincerely in Christ,
Pastor Tom Brock